Collections is…

A Foundation of Training
Building for New Heights
in Your Collections
Randy Kamm
The CBE Group, Inc.
Session Description:
A Foundation of Training
This session provides examples of how a third party
collection firm hires, trains and motivates its collectors
and management team to maximize collections, maintain
compliance, enhance customer satisfaction, minimize
complaints and reduce turnover.
With training resources more limited than ever in the
government revenue agency environment, it’s
increasingly difficult to operate and maintain an
effective, motivated and productive collection team.
Use these ideas to help organize, build and sustain a
training and development environment that will help you
reach new heights in collection – even in these
challenging budgetary times.
Good to Great
“When asked for the top five factors
that led from mediocrity to excellence
one leader summed it up:
One would be people,
two would be people,
three would be people,
four would be people
and five would be people.”
Jim Collins, Good to Great
Turn the flywheel!
“Good to great comes about by a cumulative process –
step by step, action by action, decision by decision, turn
by turn of the flywheel – that adds up to sustained
and spectacular results.”
Jim Collins, Good to Great
Row, row your boat!
“If you could get all the people in an organization
rowing in the same direction, you could dominate
any industry, in any market, against any competition,
at any time.”
Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Collections is…One Heart, One Mind…
One Payment at a Time!
Factors” for hiring,
developing and motivating collectors
• Building for new heights in your Collections
Know what you want to build
Choose people who fit
Provide solid footing with effective training
Build strong leaders to offer support
Maintain, repair, enhance continuously
Know what you want to build
• We want to achieve exceptional results in every
aspect of our operation and service
Constantly stronger collections
Excellent customer service
Superior compliance
Zero complaints
Much enhanced employee retention
• We want every employee to understand how his or
her actions help us achieve exceptional results
• We want every employee to know we want to help
them succeed
Do your employees know the plan?
If your people don’t know what they’re being asked
to do, what you do as a manager won’t matter.
“Even Alice in Alice in Wonderland, learned that.
When she came to a fork in the road, she found the
Cheshire Cat sitting there. She asked him, ‘Which
road should I take?’ ‘Where are you going?’ asked
the cat. ‘I don’t know,’ said Alice. ‘Then it doesn’t
matter,’ the cat was quick to reply.”
Ken Blanchard, Whale Done
At CBE we will…
“…offer a life preserver of help and hope to each other,
our clients and customers. We will all be committed to
doing the right thing!”
• Being a collector is a tough job
• Keeping collectors engaged and productive is essential
for strong collection performance, superior customer
satisfaction and peerless compliance
CBE’s Core Values
• Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Continuous
Provide a common language for all employees
Point to expectations
Clarify what is most valuable to the organization
Drive our people to “do the right thing” because they
receive respect, understanding and support within the CBE
Do the Right Thing…Every Day!
• We take care of our people so they’ll want to and are
able to do the right thing – on the phone, for our
clients, with each other, and in our community
• We’ll generate exceptional results because we treat
consumers with uncommon respect and
• We’ll change the perception of debt collection
• We’ll create a new collection paradigm built on our
Core Values
The ripple starts with me!
We conduct our business in accordance with the
highest standards of professional behavior. We are
accountable to live up to our commitments. We are in a
climate of open, honest, and ethical behavior in all of
our interactions with each other, clients, vendors and
the public
Every person matters!
We always treat others as they would like to be treated.
We believe it is vital to capitalize on each individual’s
unique talents and honor diverse work styles. We
operate in a climate of openness and trust in which
each of us freely grants others their entitled respect,
cooperation, and decency.
Riding the wave!
We accept change as the rule, not the exception, and
create an environment in which individuals thrive and
creativity is valued. We anticipate change, shape it to
fit our purposes, and act as its agent.
Continuous Improvement
Charting our own course!
We embrace a total quality management philosophy
and continuous improvement initiatives. We will
guide each other through uncharted waters and
become the leader in changing the collection industry.
We are not afraid to stand alone if it is the right thing
to do.
Choose People
who Fit Your
Organization & Values
• Right Bus
• Right Seat
• Right Fit
Stay focused on the goal
• Recruiting, training and motivating people is
comprehensive, incremental and coordinated
– Identify people’s strengths and develop support
– Encourage teambuilding, collaboration and cooperation in
all parts and all levels of your organization
– Constantly focus on communication and employee
– Identify and resolve conflicts along the way
– Seek continuous, incremental improvements
Hire for Talent, Train for Skill
• Past experience isn’t everything
• Tough to change heart and attitude
• Do all you can to ensure the right fit
First Interview
Second Interview
Reference Check
Background Check
Selecting Talent
• Talent outperforms your expectations
• Talent outperforms experience
• Need for each manager to understand his or her own
talents and non-talents as a filter (prism) on the world
• Talent is just like a fingerprint – Unique!
Use a Strengths-based approach
• Identify, appreciate and capitalize on each employee’s
unique strengths
• Set the goal and recognize people will get there
• Individuals don’t need to be well-rounded but teams
Now, Discover Your Strengths
Tom Rath, Strengths Finder 2.0
• Each employee knows his or her unique strengths and
strength zone
• Every person in the company knows everyone else’s
strengths too!
• My strengths are:
Now, Discover Your Strengths
Tom Rath, Strengths Finder 2.0
• Most common strengths for all CBE Employees
• Most common strengths for Collectors
solid footing for
Effective Training
• Time spent training up front reduces time to “rebuild”
• Hire the best trainers you can and reward them
• Provide ongoing support for your new hires as well as
veteran collectors
• Invest time, energy and money necessary to
document and maintain your SOP system
• Refuse the temptation to rush to the phone!
Lay the groundwork
• Provide clear authority and responsibility for training,
teambuilding & leadership development
• Create organizational development department that
– Training at all levels of organization
– Enhancement of corporate culture and core values
• Resource and target your training efforts
– Expanded staff dedicated to training from 1 to 8.5
• Tear down “training” silos and build cross functional
teams that share the passion for training and
Silos – Create Cross
Functional Teams
Hit the mark for each employee
Engaged or
Sweet Spot
Not Engaged
or Neutral
or Bitter
“Show me
the Money!”
“…Retired On
Active Duty”
• Seek out and engage employees who freely and
willingly offer discretionary effort
• Collectors who “Go the extra mile” to help debtors
find lasting payment solutions drive performance:
Stronger revenue growth
Lower costs
Reduced turnover and absenteeism
Increased creativity and innovation
Positive culture
Extraordinary performance results for clients
Key Elements of Engagement
• Understand employees’ different “learning styles”
and how to engage their differences
• Emotional
– I care about the future of my organization
– I’m proud to work for this organization
– My organization inspires me
• Rational
– I understand how my department contributes to
organizational success
– I see how my role impacts the organization
– I am willing to put in extra effort for organizational
Training Modules
• New Hire Classroom Instruction: (Three weeks)
– Orientation and company history, FDCPA, State laws,
Privacy Act and all other regulatory requirements, client
specific requirements, collection system instruction,
listening and collector talk off strategies and techniques
– Teambuilding exercises
– Rigorous testing
• New Collector Training Bay: (Eight weeks)
– Matched with experienced collectors & managers to build
confidence and experience
Training Modules
• One-on-one Instruction: (New and experienced
– Role play, live borrower calls, review recordings of
contacts as well as providing direction for improvement.
Allows collectors to “hear themselves” as well as learn
from others
• Monthly Training: (By business unit)
– Changes in regulatory requirements, laws and new
customer requirements
• FDCPA, Privacy and Security Safeguards:
– Required twice a year for every employee
Training Modules
• REACH: Real Experimental Adventures for Change and
Hope (Supervisory & Management Team)
– Week-long off-site, provides cooperative problem-solving,
strategic thinking, conflict resolution, relationshipbuilding, personal risk-taking, trust enhancement,
understanding & appreciation of individual strengths.
– Improves communication, reduces conflict & helps team
focus on collecting and resolving accounts
• CBE University: (Offered to all employees)
– Enhances general and leadership skills.
• Testing & Certification Roster:
– All employees sign training and testing certification
Build strong leaders to offer support
Why develop the leadership team?
Great leaders discover what’s unique about each
employee and they capitalize on it
Successful managers figure out how to incorporate
people’s differences into the overall plan
Leaders build trusting relationships between other
management team members that foster success
People join companies, but they quit
Manager Selection
• Choose manager candidates who want to develop
• Seek those with “Servant Leadership” experiences
• Best collectors don’t always make great managers
• Frequent past behavior indicates future behavior
Maintain, Repair,
Enhance Continuously
Communicate your expectations and requirements
Inspect what you expect
Review, Remind, Reinforce
Look for ways to make your concepts “sticky”
– Coaching
– Stories
– Activities
Success is in the Details
Daily training opportunities
One-on-one coaching (supervisor/trainer)
QA monitoring
Compliance Chat
Comprehensive SOPs accessible to all personnel
Daily Training Opportunities
• Create a “learning and teaching” environment where
training opportunities & successes abound every day
– “Hot Topic” Compliance training focused on collectors
doing the right thing on every collection call.
– “Core Competencies” Training focused on the skills
necessary to be successful in a collection position.
– Reinforce Client Specific requirements
– Reward positives as well as focus on improvement areas
Quality Assurance Monitoring
• 100% call recording supports QA monitoring
• Cross functional teams jointly evaluate & score calls
– Operations
– Compliance
– Organizational Development
• Seven calls from every collector at CBE each month
Best Practices
Areas of Opportunity
Compliance trends inform and enhance future training
• Close cooperation between Ops/Compliance/OD
Compliance Chat
• Online Q&A “chat” resource
• Employees prefer communicating via “Chat”
• Compliance team available via online chat function to
respond to questions
• Opportunity to continuously teach the “why” and
“how” behind procedures and requirements
• Reinforces use of SOPs to ensure accuracy and
in the Pudding
Top 10 Competitive Rankings
1 out of 2 PCAs in 8 out of 9 ranking
Quality Scores + Recovery
Treasury – FMS
4 out of 5 PCAs (Best new PCA since
Cumulative Recovery
Department of ED
5 out of 12 PCAs (Best new PCA since
Cumulative Recovery +
Administrative Resolutions
Major Bankcard
1,2 or 3 in five different markets out
of 8 PCAs
1-3 month cumulative
Regional Utility
2 out of 3 PCAs in 2 markets
Most recent 6-month
Municipal Utility
1 out of four PCAs
Most recent 6-month
Regional Utility
1 out of three PCAs
Monthly netback formula
Satellite TV
2 out of 4 PCAs
9 month effective rate
Nationwide Telecom
1 out of 3 PCAs
Cumulative liquidation %
1 out of 3 PCAs
Cumulative liquidation %
IRS Private Debt Collection Program
• $82.5 million collected in 30 months
• 27% or 53,991 of accounts resolved (out of nearly
200,000 accounts placed)
• Independent “taxpayer satisfaction” survey scores
99% (Regulatory, procedural and customer accuracy)
99.4% (Timeliness of collection actions)
99.9% (Professionalism)
Less than one-half percent asked to be returned to IRS
Virtually no cases identified as validated complaints (six
– Comparable IRS scores ranked in 60% range
Presentation Summary
• “Success Factors” for training, motivating and
developing employees
– Know what you want to build
– Choose people who fit
– Provide solid footing with effective training
– Build strong leaders to offer support
– Maintain, repair, enhance continuously
The CBE Group, Inc.
The CBE Group is a privately held, 76-year old debt collection
firm driven to do the right thing for our customers, consumers,
employees and community. CBE is headquartered in Waterloo,
IA with additional operational centers in Atlanta, Kansas City,
and West Des Moines, IA. More than 1000 employees serve the
debt recovery needs of more than 900 clients in the Government,
Financial, Healthcare, Education, Telecommunications and
Utility industries.
Visit us at:
A Foundation of Training
Thank You!
Randy Kamm, Vice President Government Service
The CBE Group, Inc.
[email protected]
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